Johannes Brahms: Quintets Op. 34 & 111

“I always find it extraordinary that a small group can produce such a huge sound, full of raw power and magnificent enormity… A notable example of this is in Op. 34, where, aided by Giltburg’s lavishly sonorous contribution, they provide a sumptuous conclusion to the first movement that conjures the resonance of a much larger ensemble. Another constant thread running through all their recordings is the range and variety of timbres that they deliver, and the ease with which they switch between them… with these splendid accounts of both quintets they have most certainly not disappointed.”

Presto Music, May 2022

“…the sound of pianist Boris Giltburg reunited with the Pavel Haas Quartet, still a potent partnership… Giltburg brings the weight and sonorous tone that the piano part needs, but he stays fully integrated with the opulent sound of this quartet. Always part of the team. The richness, the flexibility of phrasing and the sheer dynamic range of the ensemble is impressive, and they are joined by viola player Pavel Nikl for Brahms’ G major string quintet… Outstanding Brahms chamber music, then.”

BBC Radio 3 Record Review, May 2022

“Over 20 years of performing, the Haas Quartet have lost none of their east European spunk and folksy edge, qualities just as valuable when playing Brahms. Fiery passions and the crispest of rhythms mark outer movements, while slow movements bask in heartfelt nostalgia. Either way, everybody wins.”

The Times, May 2022

“On this new account, however, Giltburg’s Fazioli instrument achieves a subtle blend with the strings, so that there’s a markedly less concertante, more collegial feel than on many rival accounts… After this marvellously invigorating yet well-balanced account of the Piano Quintet, the G major String Quintet opens with a Mendelssohnian joyfulness, with exuberant violin and viola tremolos over an energetically leaping cello theme… The elation of the final two pages is palpable, bringing to a thrilling close one of the most uplifting and outstanding Brahms chamber discs of recent years, and just as urgently recommended!”

Europadisc, May 2022

“Boris Giltburg is an equal partner in all this, of course, and the colour and variety of his tone is a marvel in itself… The G major String Quintet astonishes from the very first bars, with cellist Peter Jarůšek digging heartily into the low D of his long-breathed melody, then soaring in a full-throated, joyous cantabile. And I’m gratefully stunned by how the PHQ (joined here by the ensemble’s founding viola player, Pavel Nikl) render the score’s intricately woven textures with stunning clarity… These performances are tremendously rewarding and I urge my fellow Brahmsians to hear them.”

Gramophone, June 2022

“The Pavel Haas Quartet is joined by its former violist Pavel Nikl, whose walnutty timbre acts as a piquant foil to the rich, chocolatey tone of Luosha Fang. This is a group whose sound is built from the bottom up, however, and it is the cello of Peter Jarůšek that forms the solid basis of this interpretation, whether it be the joyously sprawling theme of the opening movement or the pregnant pizzicatos that drive the Adagio. The players revel in the work’s changing moods with full-toned freedom in the sonorous surroundings of Prague’s Domovina Studio.”

The Strad, June 2022

“The differentiated playing of the Pavel Haas Quartet and pianist Boris Giltburg is most astonishing. But this state of astonishment does not last long. What happens in this interpretation is too compelling… In this performance [String quintet] the work is played powerfully, with effective contrasts between agitated, grippingly urgent passages and more serious thoughts.”

Pizzicato, June 2022

“The Pavel Haas Quartet and Boris Giltburg take on the piece with no holds barred: this is an all-giving, full-on version in which the sense of involvement is total and the exhilaration scarcely stops, but for the beautifully tranquil second movement… The String Quintet is sharing the undoubtedly thrilling qualities of innate ensemble playing, strong instinct for tempo and the sense of sheer love for the music.”

BBC Music Magazine, July 2022